Subject: Re: Looking for Lisp compiler
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 29 Dec 2002 02:58:21 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Pascal Bourguignon
| Yes, sorry if I sound caricatural, but I can only compare the
| support I've never been able to get from Microsoft/Sony for the
| Vaio of my niece (for a MS-Windows-Me problem) vs. the bugs in
| NeXTSTEP BSD layer that never have been corrected in any new
| version (at least Apple freed Darwin) vs. the support and
| maintainance I get (and give) everyday on usenet for GPL'ed or
| BSD'ed software.

  So what you need is to become a customer of a commercial enterprise
  that provides much /better/ service than you can get with the Free
  Software and you would instantly change your mind?  Some of us have
  had that experience.  I strongly suggest that you accept that people 
  can actually have happy experiences with commercial software despite
  your unhappy experiences and therefore find your caricature damning
  for you, not for the commercial software you have yet to experience.

  What is so tragic about so many (rabid) Free Software adherents is
  that they remain Microsoft victims even when they decry its evil.
  It is not unlike freeing slaves whose slave psychology remains, and
  instead of experiencing the liberty to partake in the possibilities
  before them and enjoy the freedom to fail without punishment and
  reap the benefits of their success, they cling to the security of
  knowing the outcome of their actions as determined by their master,
  and so freedom presents them with problems, not opportunities.  The
  Microsoft victims truly believe that Free Software is the solution
  to their problems, but their problem was getting no support and now
  they think software must be free in order to get good support.  It
  is all hogwash!  This is not what Free Software was about!  This is
  not the reason people fight for Free Software!  Microsoft does not
  even /exist/ in the Free Software universe -- Microsoft is entirely
  irrelevant.  Whether Microsoft provides shitty or no service is of
  /zero/ consequence in the Free Software universe.  Free Software is
  not about support at all.  Using it as an argument is specious at
  best.  Free Software is about your ability qua user to look under
  the hood.  That (or if) you can hire somebody do this for you is
  entirely immaterial.  The freedom to ask somebody to do something
  for you in exchange for another service or money is an aspect of
  the environment in which Free Software exists, but the freedom to
  look under the hood is essentially disconnected from this aspect.

  Once bitten, twice shy, the saying goes, but it appears to me that
  many people are of the "bitten, thence shy" persuasion, and it is
  as impossible to change their mind as it is to unbite them.  The
  doctrine of forming all of one's opinions after the first encounter
  with anything is well known under a variety of names, all nasty and
  properly derisive of those who succumb to it, but until and unless
  many people understand that they do in fact subscribe to it, they
  appear to believe they have a right to an opinion about that which
  they have yet to experience based on what they have experienced so
  far.  Some even claim that this lunacy is "scientific" and that one
  cannot escape prejudice.  Again, hogwash!  People can /think/ and
  they can make new choices without any obligation to tell you about
  it, so no amount of "historic evidence" can predict the future of
  someone's choices, very much unlike physics.  To become satisfied
  that you have seen all there is to see from someone is the ultimate
  disrespect towards that person.  Most people acknowledge this when
  they face the naked facts, but still return to this loathsome and
  vile practice whenever they hope to get away with it, such as when
  they deal with "businesses" instead of "people".

  Please try to understand that the quality of the support you get is
  completely irrelevant to the issue of Free Software.  Would you
  abandon Free Software as a concept if you got lousy service from
  one or even many suppliers?  But you abandoned commercial software
  because of bad experience with one or a few suppliers of commercial
  software?  Pardon the passion when I ask you a heartfelt question:
  What the hell were you /thinking/?  Drawing that kind of conclusion
  from that kind of evidence strongly suggests that you are unable to
  think clearly and instead try to prop up your emotional conclusions
  with delusions of logic, with mere rationalization.  You are not
  alone in this mind-boggling stupidity, just as there are numerous
  people out in the real world who still believe that as soon as they
  know somebody's /race/ they can stop learning about them as people.

  You should be smart enough to realize that your personal experience
  is entirely immaterial as part of a critique of a system, and even
  more so to support your negative attitude to future experiences and
  those of other people you do not know.  You ought to be /ashamed/
  of yourself for trying to pull such a fantastically stupid stunt in
  a newsgroup of /really/ smart people.  The /arrogance/ of trying to
  fool people with such mind-numbing idiocy has marked /your/ past
  and has obliterated any trust in your thinking ability so far.  But
  according to the principles I laid down above, you, too, have the
  ability to think and make some intelligent choices.  Now, hear me
  when I tell you that nobody is interested in your past, in what you
  believe is your personality or your identity or your personal pride.
  You are only your arguments and your articles to this forum, and we
  know /nothing/ about you as a person, nor does anybody care.  Only
  a bigoted idiot would deny /you/ the chance to change your mind and
  fix your mistakes.  That means that your personal defense of your
  past is not suitable for this forum, however strongly you feel the
  urge to defend yourself.  In a debate, you are /expected/ to learn
  when you are mistaken.  Being a good debater means that you grasp
  the consequences of having your arguments shot down: You re-open
  them only if you have a solid argument to support them and refute
  the refutation, and attacking those who shot them down /does not/
  count in that regard.  And please realize this: This debate is not
  about what /you/ feel like doing, what /you/ have experienced that
  gave rise to your desires, but about something that could apply to
  other people with other experiences than yours.  Therefore, what
  you need to present as an argument is not what you experienced, but
  why anyone should care about it.

  But, since you have opened this argument in this newsgroup, where
  it has been opened hundreds of times before, even though it does
  not belong here, the sheer arrogance you display by expressing a
  belief that nobody has ever heard /your/ arguments before, I have
  also formed a set of expectations about your ability to reason and
  think clearly and grasp what you should do to present a coherent
  argument to us that is at least /somewhat/ novel in this forum if
  you have to discuss such an /off-topic/ issue here to begin with.
  That does not mean that you cannot start thinking without telling
  me or that you must feel obliged to continue down only one path.  I
  ask you, implore you, to reconsider whether you think anyone here
  is even remotely interested in your personal experiences or has not
  heard your pro-Free Software arguments before and whether you could
  hope to change anyone else's mind when yours is apparently made up
  for good.  People here are generally experienced programmers, not a
  cobble of newbies who need to be led onto the One True Path by
  another newcomer to the newsgroup.  When older and wiser people
  than you do not accept your self-evident truth, it is time for you
  to stop and think: at the very least, it is not self-evident, and
  it may not even be the truth.  Another thing you might want to
  consider is that those who want to discuss the programming language
  (family|Common) Lisp may simply ignore you and hope you go away,
  and that those who respond to you are just really pissed off that
  we have yet /another/ Free Software zealot waste everyone's time
  with this non-issue in this forum.  The desire to have everyone
  else agree to one's personal opinion may run strong in some people,
  but it has no place in a programming language forum, no matter how
  strongly felt the opinion or its gravity to the world in general.
  Those who want do discuss this issue are generally found over in

  As a personal advice to you, I would very strongly suggest that you
  adopt a different attitude.  Try some humility towards people you
  do not know -- they may be the people who some day decide your very
  future, or they may just be the people who could help you, but may
  decide not to based on your perceived arrogance and aggressiveness
  about what you currently believe and your apparent lack of ability
  to listen to people unless they do exactly as you tell them to.  If
  you see other people as negative or harsh towards you, it is a good
  idea to examine what you have done to them first rather than go on
  and aggravate matters by doing it again -- people react negatively
  for a reason, and insisting that you are faultless tends to annoy
  people more than anything else.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.